James L. (Jim) Hicks was born May 25, 1928 and passed away peacefully August 28, 2018 at the age of 90. He is survived by his son, Scott (Oakdale); brothers, Alvin (Pismo Beach) and Lewis (Bakersfield); granddaughter, Mari (Oakdale); step-granddaughter, Anne (Rotterdam, Netherlands); and two step-great-grandchildren; as well as several nephews, nieces, and cousins. He is preceded in death by his wife, Pat (1998); his parents, Richard and Margaret Hicks; brother, Richard; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Jim was born and raised in Fresno and served in the US Navy right at the end of WWII and during the Korean conflict. He ran automobile service stations in his 20s and early 30s and eventually went to work for the State of California in their juvenile justice system (Youth Authority) for 25 years until his retirement.
He met his wife, Pat, in Yosemite while running a service station in the park. They lived there until shortly after their son Scott’s birth in 1957. Before Pat’s passing, they enjoyed cruises and traveled through the Panama Canal and the inland waterways of Alaska. Jim was a lifelong baseball fan. He loved the SF Giants and attended many games; his first being on his 31st birthday, when his father took him to a game at Seal Stadium in SF shortly after the Giants moved west. His last game in person was exactly 50 years to the day later when Scott took him to AT&T Park for his 81st birthday. In 2007, 2008, and 2009, Jim drove to Arizona to watch Scott participate in several SF Giant’s “Fantasy Camps,” where he got to meet the coaches who were former Giants ball players (who he had watched during their own careers) in the major leagues. After Pat’s passing, Jim set out to see a baseball game in every major league ballpark. It took him three summers to accomplish; one with a tour group, and two he planned totally on his own. He managed to get to every park – except Montreal – and got into the Chicago White Sox park, but the game was rained out.
In his later years, he battled COPD which slowed him down quite a bit. He still enjoyed watching games on TV almost every night. He attended The River Christian Community in Oakdale until his health prevented him from getting out any longer. During the last couple of years he suffered from dementia and was under Hospice care for his final few months. Many thanks to the Bristol Hospice staff for their loving care during this final, difficult time. His biggest goal near the end was to make his 90th birthday which he accomplished this past May.
With help from several private caregivers, Jim was able to remain at home with his son, Scott and granddaughter, Mari, until the end.
There will be a graveside gathering later in September (date to be determined) at Belmont Memorial Park in Fresno; where much of his family is laid to rest. No other services are planned. In lieu of flowers, or other gifts, donations can be made to Astro Foundation Inc., a local animal rescue group, which Scott helped found and for which Mari is a valuable volunteer. All gifts will help fund a new no-kill animal shelter in Oakdale.
The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader
Sept. 5, 2018